At Bruce County, Voice over IP (VoIP) is starting to deliver on its promise of enhanced communications at a lower cost.
Bordered by Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, and the Niagara Escarpment, Bruce is known for its spectacular natural beauty.
Now the region is being talked about for another reason – its deployment of VoIP technology.
Business customers could rake in savings of up to 50 per cent with the new VoIP service offered by Bruce Municipal Telephone System (BMTS), according to Hans Nilsson, president and CEO of BMTS, based in Tiverton, On.
BMTS is investing between $2 million and $3 million on its VoIP deployment – likely to be in full operation by January 2006.
Household subscribers are also expected to save big time by opting for the new technology.
A traditional residential telephone line with advanced calling features, such as voicemail, call waiting and call forwarding, would normally cost subscribers up to $35 dollars a month. With a VoIP service package the monthly cost goes down to $29.95, and this includes all features of a traditional phone line and free international long distance calls.
“(Our customer base) grows around five per cent a month and we are hoping it will go up one or two per cent more (with VoIP deployment),” said Nilsson. Currently, BMTS has 20,000 DSL subscribers and 15,000 telephone customers.
MTS has chosen Portsmouth, NH-based Pannaway Technologies Inc. as its VoIP service vendor. There are two reasons for this choice said Nilsson: Pannaway’s ability to offer a “triple play” of services – voice, video and data – over a single IP network and its e-911 technology, which allows VoIP subscribers to have an always-available 911 emergency service even during power outages.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations require VoIP service providers to offer 911 emergency service comparable to that of a traditional telephone line.
Nilsson said Pannaway was the only company to offer the county a solution that entirely complied with CRTC requirements.
Pannaway says its IP-enabled service convergence network supports both session initiation protocol and media gateway control protocol, allowing easy migration from the traditional TDM (time division multiplex) switching environment.
Pannaway’s e-911 technology, dubbed Primary Line VoIP, contains a remotely powered back-up POTS (plain old telephone service) line that automatically activates during a power failure, giving subscribers uninterrupted telephone and 911 emergency services.
BMTS is Pannaway’s first Canadian service partner, as the company pushes on with plans to penetrate the Canadian VoIP market.
“We are pleased BMTS chose Pannaway as its access provider for this significant infrastructure upgrade, especially [as] other major access providers were evaluated,” said David Meyer, Pannaway’s executive vice president of sales.
In the first phase, BMTS has rolled out its VoIP offering in Port Elgin, where 75 per cent of the town’s telephone customers are BMTS subscribers, Nilsson said.